Zero One Hundred - on this day.

Autumn 1917

Submarine Scout Zero 16 and SSZ 17 RNAS Pembroke.

Within weeks of being delivered to the base SSZ16 and SSZ17 were flying daily on a range of missions and like 2018 strong winds featured during the first month of the Autumn.


 This extract from the flight log shows October 1917.

This information is taken from the Dailey Reports (initially Form 1519, established in March 1915, later replaced by Form S1575 in June 1917) issued by RNAS airship stations at 6 pm and sent to the Admiralty Airship Department.

All research and presentation by Brian J Turpin MRAeS and reproduced by kind permission.


SSZ16October• On 1st October, flight of 8 hrs 25 min. (0947 – 1812)Flt Sub-Lt J E Barrs, Engineer and W/T Operator.Patrol of Bristol Channel.No flight details.• On 2nd October, flight of 4 hrs 50 min. (1340 – 1830)Flt Sub-Lt J E Barrs, Engineer and W/T Operator.Patrol.The area around Smalls was well patrolled, but nothing of interest was seen. On returning to theStation several runs over the mirror and Lewis Gun practice carried out.• On 3rd October, flight of 5 hrs 51 min. (0714 – 1305)Flt Sub-Lt J E Barrs, Engineer and W/T Operator.Patrol.Sighted a torpedoed vessel and dropped two bombs on a dark patch of water. Some oil wassubsequently seen. No further report.• On 4th October, flight of 1 hr 5 min. (0947 – 1052)Flt Sub-Lt J E Barrs, Flt Sub-Lt W Catchpole and W/T Operator.Instructional flight round Aerodrome.Instructed to land as wind had risen to 22 mph gusting 29 mph and heavy rain falling. Furtherflying impossible throughout the day owing to wind force (30 – 40 mph)On 6th October, whilst being taken out of the shed was caught by a gust of wind. Owing to theslippery nature of the ground, and the fact that the wind screens are too close together, the landingparty were unable to hold the ship and the starboard elevator struck the wind screen, and a holetorn in the stern. The ship was taken back into the shed immediately and the necessary repairscarried out. The ship will be in commission tomorrow.Damage to starboard elevator plane and envelope.• On 11th October, flight of 9 hrs 7 min. (0705 – 1612)Flt Sub-Lt J E Barrs, Engineer and W/T Operator.Patrol.Patrol between Smalls and Tuskar, and divert traffic entering the Irish Sea.“At 1110, a report having been received that a ship had been torpedoed in O61, I ordered SSZ 16and SSZ 17 to proceed there immediately. On arrival the torpedoed ship was sighted underadequate escort making for Waterford Harbour. The escorting ships had nothing to report. Theairships remained over the area until it was necessary to recall them for escort duties with theconvoy, the Vice Admiral being anxious that all the available airships should escort the convoy inview of his shortage of surface craft.”Both ships returned at 1612 and 1555 respectively due to increasing bad weather.• On 12th October, flight of 3 hrs 40 min. (0902 – 1242)Flt Sub-Lt J E Barrs, Engineer and W/T Operator.Patrol.Patrol in vicinity of Smalls.Recalled owing to poor visibility.On 13th October, detailed for local bomb dropping and Lewis Gun practice.As the ship was being taken out of the shed a gust of wind caught her; the starboard elevator hit theside of the shed and was slightly damaged. The necessary repairs are being carried out. Under thecircumstances I considered it inadvisable to take any further ships out of the shed.Weather conditions very unsettled. The barometer rose briskly all day as consequence of which agale was forecast by the Meteorological Office.• On 14th October, flight of 1 hr 15 min. (1730 – 1845)Flt Sub-Lt J E Barrs, Engineer and W/T Operator.Bomb dropping practice.• On 15th October, flight of 9 hrs 20 min. (0740 – 1700)Flt Sub-Lt J E Barrs, Engineer and W/T Operator.Patrol.Patrol to Tuska. At 0840 sighted a Drifter blown up by a mine of Skokholm. Many mines weresighted in the vicinity. This was reported to Base, and surface Patrol Vessels, which destroyedmines by gun fire.At 1100 a submarine was reported 8 miles SW of Coningberg. SSZ 16 ordered to proceed there.Recalled at 1430 as wind was backing and freshening.• On 16th October, flight of 7 hrs 22 min. (1123 – 1845)Flt Sub-Lt J E Barrs, Engineer and W/T Operator.Patrol and Escort Duties.No flight details.Unable to fly until 1123 as new rudder controls had to be fitted.• On 19th October, flight of 10 hrs 5 min. (0733 – 1738)Flt Sub-Lt J E Barrs, Engineer and W/T Operator.Patrol.Patrolled areas 87 and 89, and then to Hartland Point, but nothing of special interest was seen.• On 22nd October, flight of 4 hrs 28 min. (0814 – 1242)Flt Sub-Lt J E Barrs, Engineer and W/T Operator.Patrol.Proceeded to patrol to the Smalls.Proceeded to search Area 54, with SSZ 17, to relieve C 5a searching for submarine. (See C 5a fordetails) two Colliers warned to alter course nearer to the coast and other surface craft warned. At1205, SSZ 16 and SSZ 17 were recalled owing to increasing bad weather. Both landed successfullyin winds between 27 and 31 mph. The wind increased during the day and no further flying waspossible.• On 27th October, two flights: (1) 3 hrs 3 min. (0722 – 1025)Flt Sub-Lt J E Barrs, Engineer and W/T Operator.Patrol.Patrol to Smalls.No flight details.(2) 5 hrs 35 min. (1330 – 1905)Flt Sub-Lt J E Barrs, Engineer and W/T Operator.Patrol.Patrol to Cardigan Bay, a submarine having been reported in that vicinity.Total flight time: 8 hrs 38 min.• On 28th October, two flights: (1) 2 hrs 43 min. (0811 – 1054)Flt Sub-Lt J E Barrs, Engineer and W/T Operator.Patrol.Proceeded to Cardigan Bay.Returned owing to wireless trouble.(2) 2 hrs 26 min. (1558 – 1824)Flt Sub-Lt J E Barrs, Engineer and W/T Operator.Patrol.After necessary repairs proceeded to patrol to St David’s Head.Total flight time: 5 hrs 9 min.• On 29th October, flight of 40 minutes. (0905 – 0945)Flt Sub-Lt J E Barrs, Engineer and W/T Operator.Bomb dropping practice.At 0920 ordered to land as the wind had reached 22 mph and was increasing.• On 31st October, flight of 2 hrs 15 min. (0853 – 1108)Flt Sub-Lt J E Barrs, Engineer and W/T Operator.Patrol.Patrol to Coningberg. At 0940 to patrol area 65, and escort Convoy due to leave Milford Haven at1400.Al ships recalled at 1025 owing to unsettled state of weather.Total flight time for October: 83 hours 10 minutes.

SSZ17
October
Changing engine on 1 st October.
Repairs to elevators on 2nd October. Adjustments to engine.
Ready for trial at noon on 3rd October. Unable to carry out same owing to bad weather.
• On 4th October, flight of 25 minutes. (1008 – 1033)
Flt Lt S E Taylor with:
Lt Betteridge (Engineer Officer) and AM Manning (W/T)
Engine trials and Lewis Gun practice.
Instructed to land as wind had risen to 22 mph gusting 29 mph and heavy rain falling.
Further flying impossible throughout the day owing to wind force (30 – 40 mph)
• On 6th October, flight of 1 hr 5 min. (1740 – 1845)
Flt Sub-Lt L Chivers, Engineer and W/T Operator.
Bomb dropping practice and W/T test.
• On 11th October, flight of 8 hrs 25 min. (0730 – 1555)
Flt Sub-Lt L Chivers, Engineer and W/T Operator.
Patrol.
To patrol Area 65 prior to the sailing of Convoy from Milford Haven in the afternoon.
“At 1110, a report having been received that a ship had been torpedoed in O61, I ordered SSZ 16
and SSZ 17 to proceed there immediately. On arrival the torpedoed ship was sighted under
adequate escort making for Waterford Harbour. The escorting ships had nothing to report. The
airships remained over the area until it was necessary to recall them for escort duties with the
convoy, the Vice Admiral being anxious that all the available airships should escort the convoy in
view of his shortage of surface craft.”
Both ships returned at 1612 and 1555 respectively due to increasing bad weather.
• On 12th October, flight of 1 hr 28 min. (0955 – 1123)
Flt Sub-Lt W Catchpole, Engineer and W/T Operator.
Bomb dropping over mirror.
No patrol at Lt. W Catchpole has insufficient experience to patrol in prevailing weather.
• On 13th October, flight of 3 hrs 20 min. (1213 – 1533)
Flt Sub-Lt L Chivers, Engineer and W/T Operator.
Patrol.
Weather conditions very unsettled. The barometer rose briskly all day as consequence of which a
gale was forecast by the Meteorological Office.
At 1130 a message was received from the Vice Admiral in Charge, Milford, that SS Cape Corse,
which had been torpedoed the previous morning about 6 miles West of St Govan’s Head, was
believed to be still afloat as a derelict, and that all his patrol craft were searching for her, but been
unable to find her. He further stated that a ship in the immediate vicinity of Lundy was making
SOS signals. He regarded these matters, more particularly the finding of “Cape Course” as very
important. In consequence C 5a and SSZ 17 proceeded in extremely bad weather conditions on a
down wind patrol. C 5a was instructed to search first of all for “Cape Course” and then, on the
arrival of SSZ 17, to proceed to Lundy.
It was found, however, that C 5a’s receiving gear was out of order, and consequently SSZ 17 was
instructed to stay with her and pass all messages to her. Both ships searched in company for the
“Cape Corse” until 1415 when they were recalled owing to increasing strong wind and heavy rain.
Nothing was seen of “Cape Corse”.
Both ships were successfully landed under exceptionally bad circumstances and were got into the
shed.
See C 5a for details.
• On 14th October, flight of 2 hrs 57 min. (0746 – 1043)
Flt Sub-Lt L Chivers, Engineer and W/T Operator.
North-West Patrol.
Recalled to vicinity of Aerodrome owing to wind increasing.
Later ordered to carry out bomb dropping practice but was unable to leave ground owing to slight
engine trouble.
• On 15th October, flight of 8 hrs 13 min. (0802 – 1615)
Flt Sub-Lt L Chivers, Engineer and W/T Operator.
Patrol.
Patrol to Smalls. Spotted for mines off Skokholm which were marked by calcium flares and
destroyed by surface Patrol Vessels.
• On 16th October, flight of 7 hrs 1 min. (1035 – 1736)
Flt Sub-Lt L Chivers, Engineer and W/T Operator.
Patrol and Escort Duties.
Patrol to Lundy.
• On 19th October, two flights: (1) 3 hrs 15 min. (0745 – 1100)
Flt Sub-Lt W Catchpole, Engineer and W/T Operator.
Patrol.
Patrol to Lundy, but had to return at 1100 owing to the elevator controls jamming temporarily.
(2) 4 hrs 48 min. (1318 – 1806)
Flt Sub-Lt L Chivers, Engineer and W/T Operator.
Patrol.
Returned to patrol after necessary repairs.
No flight details.
Total flight time: 8 hrs 3 min.
• On 22nd October, flight of 4 hrs 37 min. (0756 – 1233)
Flt Sub-Lt L Chivers, Engineer and W/T Operator.
Patrol.
Proceeded to St Govan’s Head with WO Vint as photographer to photograph wreck of Ionian.
Proceeded to search Area 54, with SSZ 16, to relieve C 5a searching for submarine. (See C 5a for
details) two Colliers warned to alter course nearer to the coast and other surface craft warned. At
1205, SSZ 16 and SSZ 17 were recalled owing to increasing bad weather. Both landed successfully
in winds between 27 and 31 mph. The wind increased during the day and no further flying was
possible.
SS Ionian was a defensively armed British Merchant Ship. On the 20th October 1917 when on
route from Milford Haven for Plymouth she hit a mine and sank when 2 miles West from St
Govan´s Head, Pembrokeshire, Wales. 7 lives lost. Owned by Canadian Pacific Line, Montreal.
• On 27th October, flight of 7 hrs 16 min. (0922 – 1638)
Flt Sub-Lt L Chivers, Engineer and W/T Operator.
Patrol.
Patrol to Lundy.
Whilst patrolling off Lundy the engine stopped owing to magneto failure. (C 3 standing by) After
drifting for half an hour the engine was restarted on the Remy Coil. The ship returned to Base
without any further trouble.
• On 28th October, flight of 4 hrs 49 min. (0857 – 1346)
Flt Sub-Lt L Chivers, Engineer and W/T Operator.
Patrol.
Proceeded to square 65.
Returned owing to wireless trouble.
• On 31st October, flight of 2 hrs 58 min. (0912 – 1210)
Flt Sub-Lt L Chivers, Engineer and W/T Operator.
Patrol.
Patrol to Square 65. At 0940 to patrol area 65, and escort Convoy due to leave Milford Haven at
1400.
All ships recalled at 1025 owing to unsettled state of weather.
Total flight time for October: 60 hours 37 minutes

June 12th, 1917

Submarine Scout Zero 3

Built at Folkestone. Trials June 12th, 1917. To Pulham 12th December 1917 taking part in single wire mooring system using a winch truck. (below)

June 4th, 1917

Submarine Scout Zero 2

 Built at Folkestone. Trials 4th June 1917. Whilst escorting transports to Boulogne, developed engine trouble and drifted across the funnels of the escorting destroyers, bursting into flames. Deleted Folkestone 14 August 1917, lost at sea.


April 5th, 1917 

Submarine Scout Zero (0)


The SSZ which had been built and first flown as an unmarked prototype was numbered SSZ1 and sent to the Peterborough factory of Messrs Sage & Co. on the 5th April 2017.
 It was used as a pattern for the company to mass produce subsequent SSZ control cars.

The prototype Zero, marked as SSZ1 preparing for trials at Folkestone, 2nd August 1916 (Ces Mowthrope Collection) 



The 'Sage' works alongside the Peterborough rail-head.Only the water tower was preserved when the site was demolished in 2010, above and the company 'badge' showing its global reach and aviation products, below (Public domain)


 Sage and Company where shop fitters and furniture manufacturers who turned to the production of airship control cars and seaplanes for the Admiralty during the First World War.


The remains of the Sage company badge can be seen upper left, applied to the starboard side of the car below the engineer's cockpit.(Image RAF Cosford Musuem)


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